My sister Hillary and I went to visit our brother Josh and his wife Darla one fall weekend in October. Actually, it was Halloween. Darla’s older brother, Kris, was hanging out at their house for the weekend as well. I vaguely remember a football game?…Oh, yah. It was the 2004 Michigan Vs. Michigan State game that went into triple overtime with Michigan winning 45-37. It was probably the most intense game I’ve ever watched. Hillary and I sat on the couch, slightly terrified, as our brother and my future husband jumped around screaming obscenities and making wild hand gestures. I was quite happy…and relieved when Michigan won.
The rest of the day, well it felt like it, was spent with Josh trying to get me to go with Kris to pick up a pumpkin from his parents house. Kris walked awkwardly around the house as I continued to sit on the couch trying to ignore my brother. Really, stop asking me. What, is this pumpkin made of gold or something? If he wants me to go get a pumpkin with him so bad, he can ask me himself. Hillary and I kept glancing at each other and the thought crossed my mind that my brother and sister-in-law were totally trying to set me up with this boy. I wasn’t interested. I was so over boys and completely happy with where I was at in my life. Other than hitching a ride with Kris to Church on Sunday, we didn’t have any interaction that weekend.
What a good looking group of people. As you can see, we went all out on the costumes. (The shady boy off to the right is Kris.)
I think it was around the frame of a few days later when I received an email from a boy. His name was Kris. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to completely embarrass my husband but it was a really cute email and I didn’t quite know what to do. Basically he said he was too shy to talk to me over the weekend. He thought I was cute and wanted to get to know me better…and the email went on. Since Hillary had gone with me I asked her what she thought. Should I email him back? I wasn’t used to this shyness. It’s just not a word that is in my vocabulary. Hillary was all like, go for it. The rest is history…a short history. We emailed and talked on the phone, correction I did most of the talking. Less than three months later I moved to the east side and that summer we were engaged.
Standing off of Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
This picture was taken…before he asked me to marry him. Let me clarify that we had already reserved our reception venue so it would have been rude of me to say no, but the poor boy was so nervous that it took him all day to ask me. Josh and Darla had spent part of the day with us and thought they would be celebrating our engagement with us over delicious Godiva ice cream. Instead, they headed back home and Kris and I continued to hang out in the city. We ended our evening at the end of Navy Pier sitting on a bench overlooking the lake. I realized that if I didn’t say something, nudge him even just a little, that he wasn’t going to be able to ask me. I thought that maybe all thoughts of what to do had escaped him. It happens. It’s not every day a boy asks a girl to marry him. So I leaned in and said something about getting down on one knee. A couple of minutes later, he composed himself as best as he could and got down on one knee. He mumbled something about loving me so much and would I marry him, while at the same time putting the ring on my finger. I said yes. We hugged and kissed and then…A random jogger came over and said, “I was running and saw you and thought, Whoa, he’s proposing to her, so I stopped for a minute because I didn’t want to interrupt.” Then he gave us a big “Mazeltov!” before continuing his run. On the way home we called Josh and Darla to tell them the good news and their response was, “Finally!”
The up side of spending all day with a nervous,
slightly very crabby boy was that we took in the whole city. We walked Michigan Ave. browsing through shops and enjoying street entertainment; enjoyed some delicious ice cream; took a carriage ride around downtown where I watched Kris pull the ring out of his pocket several times; walked through the park where I watched Kris pull the ring out of his pocket over and over again; walked along Navy Pier, where I nervously watched Kris pull the ring out of his pocket and hold it in his sweaty palms every time we stopped to lean across the railing of the pier to take in the view of the lake. Several months later, he only had to hold onto a ring once before slipping it onto my finger.
I married the boy.
We ran away to an island…for a week. It was warm and glorious…and warm.
Four months later I found myself living on the bathroom floor with my head in the toilet. My dog became strangely attached to laying on my stomach. I ran to the store and bought a pregnancy test. When I saw the plus sign I freaked out and called my sister Amber. There was no way I could be pregnant. Not only did I have some woman’s health issues but Kris and I were also using three different birth control methods, two of which were pretty much guaranteed. My sister said, “Maybe the test was wrong.” I replied, “I took eight tests!” I told my husband. He was happy. I was still in shock.
What followed was nine months of head in toilet, bucket or whatever else I could grab; hospital visits and bed rest which all led up to induced labor due to preeclampsia. I blew up like a blow fish. I wondered if all the needles they were poking me with would eventually cause me to pop. After some resisting on Izzie’s part, she finally left the comfort of my belly and said hello to the world.
She was the most adorable baby girl I had ever laid eyes on.
She took everything out of me but I was so in love with her.
This is how she got her nickname. When we swaddled her up she looked like a little glow worm. We called her our itsy bitsy bug (boo) and eventually just called her bug.
After a rough start with feeding, we got our own groove going.
Kris was a little nervous about holding Izzie in the hospital. She was so tiny and he didn’t want to break her.
She grew from an itsy bitsy bug to…
I am woman hear me roar. Okay, she’s still tiny but she has a big personality and that’s what counts.
We wanted Izzie to have a sibling close in age. Some people thought we were crazy. Part of our thinking was that if my pregnancy was going to be as bad as before, I would rather just get it over with. Izzie was still a baby and she wouldn’t remember me being sick. Everything was still fresh in my mind and I thought I could just suck it up and deal with it. Some people enjoy pregnancy. Some people just get through it. That might sound strange and some people still don’t get it, but more than anything, I had a passion to be a mother. I didn’t want my body and hormones to get in the way of my dream of having a big family. Of course, we prayed and hoped that my second pregnancy would be wonderful and uneventful.
My second pregnancy was worst than the first. I spent more time with my head in the toilet, more time stuck in a hospital bed or on the couch, and I felt like my baby boy was literally sucking the life out of me. I took care of Izzie as best as I could and my family did the rest. Kris worked a lot and my parents and little brother Jordan stepped in to take care of Izzie. She became very close with them and adores them still.
There are not many pictures of me pregnant with the Beast. This picture was taken right before I had him. I was holed up in the hospital and hadn’t seen Izzie in two weeks. I missed my sweet baby boo.
When Noah’s lungs were finally mature enough, they induced me. Noah didn’t waste any time making his entrance into the world and came out screaming mad with super lungs.
For awhile he had cute nicknames like ball and peanut but it wasn’t long before he earned the nickname beast.
Kris was one proud daddy.
It was love at first sight.
Izzie loved her little brother.
He grew from a drooling, baby beast to…
A curly haired, wild beast with a loud personality to match his sister.
This is the condensed version of our first years together. We were married January 21, 2006 and it’s been a crazy roller coaster of love and other stuff. We’ve had ups and downs. We’ve had lots of joy and lots of sadness. We’ve been stressed to the breaking point. We’ve dealt with my crazy health issues, health problems with both children, antepartum/postpartum depression and anxiety, job layoffs, financial difficulties and much more…All of these and more challenged Kris and I and our marriage more than we could have ever imagined in such a short amount of time. Life isn’t always peaches and sunshine. Sometimes you get knocked down…hard…and it hurts. But just because life throws things at you that knock you down, doesn’t mean you call it quits. You fight. You fight for each other. You fight for your family. You fight for your love.
A wise man once said something that I now remind myself of almost daily. It was during a very low point for me. I was pregnant and lying in a hospital bed. I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I was exhausted from being sick. I was exhausted from being sick of being sick. I felt like a failure because my body was working against me. I missed my husband, who would visit when he could, but he also had to work. I missed my family, who lived on the other side of the state. I was on the phone when I started crying to the person on the other end. I said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” The person responded, “You’re stronger than you think you are.”
YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE.
Looking back I realized that there was something so powerful and miraculous happening at that time. There was a life growing inside of me. Yes, my body didn’t like being pregnant and fought me the whole nine months. But there was a miracle going on inside of me. The only time I could see this new life was when I had an ultra sound. The only proof I had that this new life was real was the sound of her heartbeat and the feeling of her tiny movements inside of me. On the outside, I was weak and tired. On the inside my strength was in the form of a fierce baby girl, who made her presence known and still does to this day.
We are faced with situations and challenging times in our lives that make us feel weak. We give everything we have until we feel like we have nothing left in us. We’re tired. We’re beaten down and we just don’t know if we can get back up. But…There may be something going on that we can’t see just yet. A plan in the works. A new season. A new job. A new move. A new family. A new baby. A new relationship. A new opportunity. A new…something. We have to remember that we are stronger than we think we are. Reach in, grab that strength and hold on to it tight. Let your character be tested and sharpened so you can grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
The first years of our marriage didn’t go exactly as planned but I’ve embraced my life and what my family and I have gone through. We’re strong. We love our life. We love each other. Our family comes first, period. So, that’s a whole lot about us. Us being my children, my husband and me. In the future (hopefully not too distant), I intend to write a separate page on my journey with my pregnancies, and my perinatal mood disorders. I was unprepared during and after my first pregnancy and sometimes felt like I was losing my mind. I believe it’s important to speak out and be a voice of awareness. We need to educate the public on postpartum depression and perinatal mood disorders. If you are loud enough and your words are true, people cannot ignore you.
If you are pregnant or just had a baby and you’re feeling depressed, don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk to someone and ask for help. Many woman struggle with depression during pregnancy. I mean think of all the crazy, hormonal changes going on inside your body and all the changes going on in your life to prepare for a new baby. Many woman get the baby blues after the baby is born, but the blues typically go away within the first few weeks. If you don’t feel like yourself and if things aren’t getting better, there is help, support and love waiting for you. You’re not alone. Talk to your Ob/Gyn. Talk to you pediatrician who will see you a lot more than your other doctors and they can direct you to the help and support you need. You can also check out the ‘Cool Links’ page and find some links at the top of the page that will give you some good resources. If you don’t know who to talk to email me and I’ll help you get the right support and help.